Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tight Economy Creates New Freelance Opportunities

When the going gets tough, the tough get outa town. That's what I always say. And that's what a lot of Americans have been doing in this tight economic crunch we've seen for the past year, with little hope of change. They've literally been getting outa town--not buying, not investing, not saving for the future, not spending as they did once.

That's the bad news. The good news is that with every economic downturn come new challenges and opportunities--especially so for financial writers. People can benefit now more than ever from sound financial advice, and most people readily admit that they need it.

In fact, according to one source (the Harris Interactive 2009 Financial Literacy Survey), 41 percent of U.S. adults gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finances and economics. Another 80 percent believe that, even though they know something about the subject, the could benefit from some expert advice.

What's that, you say? You're not a financial expert? Perhaps not, but you are a writer. As such, you have the ability to interview and interpret and pitch your economic features to magazines, newspapers, and book publishers everywhere. Are you beginning to see a common thread emerging here?

Don't expect to land hefty assignments from the Big Four. Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, and Money magazines rely heavily on material produced in-house for their copy. That leaves few opportunities for freelancers to break in.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of other markets around just begging for articles offering solid financial advice for their readers, particularly general-interest trade publications such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and others.

The same holds true for local newspapers. Brian Johnson, managing editor of Arizona's Ahwatukee Foothills News, admits he has seen a marked increase in demand among readers for more finance-related articles in the past twelve months. While the Wall Street Journal and major magazines tackle the technical side of the financial markets and investing, Johnson's small community paper tries to educate average Americans on the basics of sound financial practices.

"I'm not looking for the sophisticated article about building a multi-million dollar stock portfolio," he said. "I'm just looking for the stuff that can help real people in our community--families with kids--learn about budgeting, credit cards and other financial 101 information."

And that, it seems to me, is exactly the market freelance writers are best able to fill.


Copyright 2009 AmSAW

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